Thursday, March 4, 2010

The tug of too much information

I am an excitable girl.

It was a nite of good television viewing. Watched the Frontline documentary on Assisted Suicide which I unequivably believe in, in fact, that's what my novel-in-progress is all about.

Mr. Ewart, who decided to drink the poison concoction, after being diagnosed with the shut-down-my-body-but-let-my mind-absorb-it-all, silently, was diagnosed with ALS. I remember writing a newspaper article about Ralph Nelms, wood carver, who was diagnosed with this condition, a year after I wrote the article on his wood carving.

He invited me over his house - he lived nearby on Silver Avenue - where his workshop was in his basement. As a farewell-to-life gift, he gave me a hand-carved mother stork and baby. It's sitting on my coffee table, along with a bowl of seashells, a clock that stopped ticking, a plaster impression of house and sun by little Sarah, and a music box from La Pedrera in Barcelona. Plus Kleenex for therapy clients.

My eyes never strayed from the Frontline program. Riveting. Dignitas was the chosen suicide facility in Zurich. Sodium pentobarbitol the chosen method to kill Mr. Ewert, who was required to drink it down himself. It was videotaped by law. If interested, you can watch it online.

Afterward, re-runs of the great Ken Burns' series on our National Parks came on. It's a leisurely done program and my mind was drawn to my laptop, sitting on the floor. I could actually feel my body tilting toward the laptop on the floor.

You know the drill: check my emails, check the NY Times, check the new Jonah Lehrer blog to see if anyone responded to my comment, see what Bill Hess is up to in Alaska.

Those are the things that flooded my mind as I watched the beauties of Yellowstone National Park in the background.

Finally, I gave myself orders.

Ruth, there is nothing urgent. You will not open the laptop tonite. Do you hear me? You can do it, sweetheart, I know you can.

Oh, all right, I said to myself. I will NOT look at the laptop. It's a cute little bugger. Black, with my nametag on it in case I lose it somewhere.

It took about five minutes until my brain caught up with my resolution, but gradually the pull and the tilt ended and I watched the TV in silence.

Except for one thing.

I'd just checked out two books from the library. Now I was tilting the other way. I opened the Wallace Stegner book, Angle of Repose. How I wanted to read it! Perhaps I could just read a few snippets while watching the Parks show.

It's true when they say you can only concentrate on one thing at a time. I closed the book. Two minutes later, Wallace Stegner is mentioned as an environmental activist.

I laughed. Figures. Does this ever happen to you? And, please, what's this called. Sure, I know the word synchronicity, but I want a deeper meaning than that. Tell me if you know.

1 comment:

  1. Bob Strange, member of our Coffeeshop Writers Group, says: Only you could segue from assisted suicide to leisurely national park themes.